It’s a new year and for a lot of people, that means new goals – both mentally and physically. The new year is filled with endless opportunities both in running and in life. Whether you are an elite runner at the top of your game or just getting started, now is the time of year when we all start to plan out our A-races and top goals for season ahead. While there are a lot of running apps and online platforms out there for the data crazed, keeping a written training log (yes, with pen and paper!) is a great tool to help all runners stay on track to achieve even their wildest dreams. You might even find that writing down your goals helps you stick to them better, fitness related or not.
I have kept a written training log ever since I started running 7 years ago and have learned that it is one of my most valuable training tools. I consider my training logs to be sacred, holding information that no online platform or running app could contain. In fact, I like my training log so much that I decided to make my own called the Racin’ Grayson Training Log + Planner. So if you aren’t using a written training log already, here are my top 5 reasons why you should be:
- Stay self-motivated- It can be hard to show up for yourself sometimes, especially on those dark winter mornings. Putting pen to paper and putting your training schedule in your training log ahead of time is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Adding races to a race schedule page is also a great reminder of the things you are working towards and can help you plan ahead.
- Build good habits- Consistency is key when it comes to training and seeing improvements. Building good habits is one way to achieve that consistency. Using habit trackers in your training log is a great way to stay on track to building good habits to keep you happy, healthy, and running fast.
- Prevent injury cycles – No one likes injuries, or worse, injury cycles. Having your training organized and written in your training log makes it easy to have a bird’s eye perspective on your overall training load. A written log also makes it easier to note aches and pains as they pop up, how you were feeling the days leading up to those niggles, and your overall life stress loads. This makes it easier to find where you went wrong and helps you train smarter NOT harder.
- Improve mental health- Mental health is just as important, when it comes to your training, as your physical health. Whether it’s full pages or just a few sentences here and there, a training log can be a place where you not only track your physical fitness, but improve your mental fitness as well.
- Ditch the comparison game- A written training log gives you a safe zone, free from the judgement of other training log social media platforms. By tuning out the outside world and just focusing on your needs and wants you will be better able to tailor your training and racing plans for what you need. This can also help you build confidence when it comes to race in knowing that you can be successful doing what is right for you, even if that’s not what it looks like for everyone else.
There are a lot of great training tools out there, no doubt. However, there’s something to be said about pen and paper (preferably Forest Service Council certified!) that can really be a game changer. Invest in yourself; in your mental and physical health; in your training; and in your race results with a written training log!
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